Thursday, 14 June 2007

Indonesia, day 4: Semarang

Day 4 started up with the driver bringing breakfast to me, and by finding a bunch of kids who would want to go to Semarang with us because my friend wanted to visit the kids over there. I'm not sure what that food was, but it tasted ok and I'm sure it was vegan -- the driver was vegetarian and knew what sort of things to give me. On the way over I was taught a song in Indonesian and another in English, but actually I only really memorized the lyrics of the Indonesian song when leaving the country. It's a nice one, but I forget the meaning. A translation in the comments would be cool! Ada sifat mulia, didalam dada ini. Sifat kasih dan sayang itulah meta karuna. Ada sifat mulia, didalam hati ini. Hati selalu bersih tak pernah benci slalu simpati. Oooo... Hidup bahagia di dunia ini. Oooo... Masuklah surga setelah mati. The English song was easier to remember: Sunday morning beautiful, going to the Sunday school. Praying to the lord Buddha, and learning dharma. Meditation makes my feeling growing better each day! Sunday morning beautiful, go to Sunday school.

On the way we stopped in a village where a place called Kafe Tahu (The Tofu Café) had had a big advertisement, but it took a while to find the place as it turned out to be tiny. What's more, they had put fish sauce in the soup, despite clear instructions not to! Fortunately I only had a spoonful of it.

After lunch we stopped in to a Buddhist temple on the way, and the road was so lovely we got off the car and hiked up for the last bit. In a relaxed enough pace to stop and smell the flowers, yet some got exhausted by it.

The temple itself was beautiful and had gorgeous gardens. But for some weird reason they had their dogs tied in to really short leashes or even locked in cages! What sort of behaviour is that from a Buddhist temple? Where's the compassion for these lovely puppies?! I talked to the monk about it and he was agreeing, but somehow I doubt anything will actually change. Well, hopefully if I will go there again, I can be positively surprised.

I also discovered that the older people at the temple spoke Chinese! That was a lovely surprise, it enabled proper communication since my Indonesian is severely limited and very few spoke decent English. Anyhow, after some relaxation and tango teaching we headed onwards to Semarang, which is a seaside city of around 5 million people, I learned the next day, as none of the group had any idea of the population. They never did, wherever we went. In Semarang, our first destination was a vegetarian restaurant called Karuna (the contact details can be found on the picture of the box, click for a larger version). You'd pick what you wanted from the displays and pay by what you had collected on the plates. What's more, everything was vegan! The food was tasty, and of course like I always do in places where you pick yourself, I picked pretty much everything and ended up with far too much. We took the rest along to avoid the absolutely stuffed feeling I've got in some such places (Commensal in Montreal comes to mind). It was quite surprising to see Rome opposite the destination temple in Semarang.

Actually before heading to the temple we took a walk on the seaside under the full moon (purnama in Indonesian, apparently, surprisingly almost the same as in Tamil). Indonesia is a really weird island country: you have to PAY to get to the seaside! How they can pull that one out beats me. Incredible. Unfortunately it wasn't possible to swim in this location.

Finally we got to the temple we had come for and saw tons of Buddha statues and the kids we went to see. They had a really impressive echo effect on the 5th (or was it 6th) floor.


urban vegan said...

I just found your blog and love it, as another travel-loving vegan.

Anonymous said...

Aww, the doggie is lovely! Miss my sis now... :-(

Well, if you do get a postcard from Russia or so, it at least tells you I'm NOT lost YET! Sorry to upset you then! lol

Take care of MINUN elefantti, remember to feed her some banaani every now and then!

Travegan said...

Welcome, Urban vegan, I'm glad you liked it so far and hope you'll like it even more later. :-)

Raisa, don't worry, your norsu is safe and sound. Hopefully you didn't get too badly lost. Or well, if you end up in the train to Moscow, you might as well ride it all the way back to BJ then. :-)

Travegan said...

Since no Indonesian speakers have got here to translate the song, I'll write a translation myself since I looked the words up in the dictionary I bought over there:
Ada sifat mulia didalam dada ini
There's a noble characteristic inside this chest
Sifat kasih dan sayang itulah meta karuna
Characteristic of love and affection, that is meta karuna
Ada sifat mulia didalam hati ini
There's a noble characteristic inside this heart
Hati selalu bersih tak pernah benci slalu simpati
A heart that's always pure, never hates, always sympathizes
Hidup bahagia di dunia ini
Live happily in this world
Masuklah surga setelah mati
Enter heaven after death